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19th Global Development Conference

The Global Development Network (GDN) hosted its 19th global development conference on the 23-25 October 2019, to facilitate the research-policy interface in pursuit of the SDGs. The conference also marked GDN's 20th anniversary since its launch at the Global Development Conference in 1999.

In Bonn, four interrelated conference themes were discussed:

  • From research to sustainable development action: interdisciplinary research, knowledge sharing, evidence brokering
  • The global and shared challenges of sustainable development: migration, climate change, health, etc.
  • Next frontier challenges: Big Data, AI, digital transformation
  • Greater local ownership and sustainability: implications for research policies and funding 


The global conference in Bonn asked how to strengthen the capacity of the current system of development research to meet new development challenges and facilitate sustainability. It showcased high level, truly inclusive evidence-based debates on current development challenges and priorities. It shared knowledge for development by highlighting innovative, high-quality, original and topical research on development, and provided developing and transition countries with a voice in shaping global policy debates on sustainable development.


GDN has kept pace with changes in the development research landscape through its activities, and its conferences in Bonn, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro, New Delhi, Dakar, St Petersburg, Beijing, Brisbane, Kuwait, Prague, Bogota, Budapest, Manila, Accra, Casablanca, and Lima. The program in Bonn lasted two-and-a-half days, during which each of the themes were addressed in 90-minute plenaries, followed by a more in-depth discussion of the various subthemes in parallel sessions, with panelists and papers selected through competitive calls. Other features included special keynotes, awards, posters, and side events

The conference was held in Bonn, Germany at the World Conference Center (WCC).

GDN partnered with the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), the German Institute for Development Evaluation (DEval) the Bonn Alliance for Sustainability Research/ Innovation Campus Bonn (ICB), and the United Nations University - Institute for Environment and Human Security, under the auspices of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). GDN welcomed the participation of other organizations who shared their vision on knowledge for development, to propose and support sessions, prizes, displays, travel and other elements that go into making a conference a marvelous learning and networking opportunity.

The conference had over 500 participants, drawn from a diverse group of researchers, policymakers, representatives of international organizations, civil society, development practitioners and the private sector. Because it is was held in Bonn, we had high-level German and other European dignitaries as well.

A high-level Scientific Committee recommended and validated speakers, papers, and sessions, selected through open calls.

The conference was held on 23-25 October 2019.

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